Sea Cloud

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Sea Cloud I.jpg
Sea Cloud as a cruise ship in 2007
  • Hussar V (1931–35)
  • Sea Cloud
OwnerEdward Francis Hutton, Marjorie Merriweather Post
LaunchedApril 25, 1931
FateChartered to the United States Armed Forces between 1942 and 1944. Post decided in 1955, to sell the ship to president of the Dominican Republic
NameUSCGC Sea Cloud
AcquiredChartered from Mr. and Mrs. Joseph E. Davies for $1.00 on January 2, 1942
CommissionedApril 4, 1942
DecommissionedApril 9, 1943
Fatetransferred to the United States Navy
NotesServed with the first racially integrated crew in the United States Armed Forces, under the command of Lieutenant Carlton Skinner
NameUSS Sea Cloud
CommissionedApril 9, 1943
DecommissionedNovember 4, 1944
FateReturned to private ownership with US$175,000 for conversion back to pre-war appearance
  • Presidential yacht Angelita
  • From 1961: Patria
OwnerOperation Sea Cruises Inc.
Fatereequipped for charters in Naples
OwnerAntarna Inc., Miami
Fatemoored for eight years in Colón, Panama
NameSea Cloud
OwnerSchiffahrtsgesellschaft Sea Cloud mbH & Co. KG
Flag: Malta (Flag of convenience)
Statusin service
NotesCommissioned as a sailing cruise ship after full scale renovation and modifications at the shipyard where she was originally built
General characteristics
Class and type(1942–1944) United States Coast Guard Cutter/(1944–present) barque
Displacement3,077 tons
Masts: 4
Figurehead: Gilded eagle
Length360 ft (110 m)
Beam49 ft 2 in (14.99 m)
Draft19 ft (5.8 m)
PropulsionDiesel-electric; two shafts
Speed14 knots (26 km/h)
Complement(1942–1944) 21 officers, 1 warrant, 13 chief petty officers, 160 enlisted men/(1944–present) 61 civilian crew
Sensors and
processing systems
  • Three radars:
  • ET 80198-2-22MC
  • ET 8010C 375-500 KC
  • ET 8012B 2100 - 3000 KC
  • Sonar
  • Echo ranging equipment
  • Range recorder
  • Sub-Sig Fathometer

Sea Cloud is a sailing cruise ship owned by Sea Cloud Cruises of Hamburg, Germany. Launched as a private yacht as Hussar V for Marjorie Merriweather Post in 1931, she later served as a weather ship for the United States Coast Guard and United States Navy during World War II, when she became the U.S. military's first racially integrated warship since the American Civil War.[1] After the war, Sea Cloud was returned to private ownership, serving as a yacht for numerous people, including as presidential yacht of the Dominican Republic. Since 1979, Sea Cloud has been used as a cruise ship.

Private yacht Hussar V[edit]

Sea Cloud was built in Kiel, Germany, as a barque for Marjorie Merriweather Post and her second husband Edward F. Hutton of Wall Street's E. F. Hutton & Co.[2][3] The yacht interiors and features were personally designed by Post, who took a course in marine engineering, and had full size interior mocks-ups done in a New York warehouse.[4][5] She was launched in 1931 as Hussar V as a replacement for the Hussar IV. At the time of her construction, she was the largest private yacht in the world.[6][dubious ] The maiden voyage was in November 1931, from the shipyard in Germany to Bermuda, where the ship was received by Hutton and Post on November 30, 1931.[5]

Sea Cloud and "Floating Embassy"[edit]

In 1935, the United States Ambassador to the Soviet Union, Joseph E. Davies, married Marjorie Merriweather Post.[6] Mr. and Mrs. Davies renamed the ship Sea Cloud.[2] Although Mrs. Davies owned the ship, she allowed Mr. Davies to claim ownership of the vessel. Those Davies entertained on the ship included Queen Elisabeth of Belgium.[6] Soviet and United States officials stayed and met on the vessel.[7]

Coast Guard service[edit]

When Mrs. Davies first offered the ship to the U.S. Department of the Navy in 1941, the Navy turned her down. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt objected to the ship entering service, remarking that the ship was too beautiful to be sacrificed.[8] On January 7, 1942, the Navy reassessed its position and chartered the ship for $1 per year.[2] The Navy sent Sea Cloud from Georgetown, South Carolina, to the United States Coast Guard Yard in Curtis Bay, Maryland, to be refitted as a "weather observation station vessel", and had the four masts removed and hull painted battleship gray.[2][7] Sea Cloud was commissioned as a United States Coast Guard Cutter on April 4, 1942, and assigned to the Eastern Sea Frontier, with a permanent home port in Boston.[2]

During 1942, Sea Cloud mostly served as a weather ship at Weather Patrol Station Number Two (position 52°0′N 42°30′W / 52.000°N 42.500°W / 52.000; -42.500). On June 6, 1942, the ship rescued eight survivors from the schooner Maria da Gloria.[2] On August 3, 1942 and August 4, 1942, Sea Cloud served at Weather Patrol Station Number One while USS Manhasset was converted to a weather ship.[2]

Naval service[edit]

In 1943, the Navy asked for control of Sea Cloud and Nourmahal, another former yacht converted into a weather ship. On April 9, 1943, the United States Navy commissioned Sea Cloud as USS Sea Cloud (IX-99), though she maintained a Coast Guard crew.[2] She was assigned to Task Force 24.

Relieving USCGC Conifer in February 1944, Sea Cloud patrolled a 100-square-mile (260 km2) area near the New England coast, generating weather reports for the First Naval District. On February 27, 1944, Sea Cloud traveled to be refurbished at Atlantic Yard in East Boston, afterwards taking over a new one-hundred square mile area at Weather Station Number One.[2]

On April 5, 1944, Sea Cloud received radar indication of a small target at position 39°27′N 62°30′W / 39.450°N 62.500°W / 39.450; -62.500, bearing 350° at 3,000 yards (2,700 m).[2] General quarters were sounded and battle stations manned, but contact was lost ten minutes later. The target was identified as a submarine, but after Sea Cloud carried out standard anti-submarine drills with no evidence of damage being inflicted, she returned to port.[2]

After minor repairs, Sea Cloud was rebased to Argentia, Newfoundland, where she was assigned to Weather Station Number Three. While patrolling the area on June 11, 1944, the crew spotted a Navy Grumman TBF Avenger, exchanging recognition signals. Sea Cloud received orders to report to the escort carrier Croatan and join the five other escort ships under her command. The envoy searched for a raft reported in the area, but returned with no sightings. After this event, Sea Cloud was once again reassigned to Weather Station Number Four. After a search for a downed aircraft, she returned to port in Boston. Sea Cloud was decommissioned on November 4, 1944, at the Bethlehem Steel Atlantic Yard and returned to Davies, along with $175,000 for conversion to pre-war appearance.[2]

For her wartime service, Sea Cloud was awarded the American Campaign Medal and the World War Two Victory Medal.

Racial integration[edit]

In late 1944, Lieutenant Carlton Skinner took command of the ship, after previously serving as executive officer in November 1944. At that time, black seamen were only permitted to serve as ship stewards. After witnessing a black man save the crew of Northland yet still be denied promotion because of the rule, Skinner proposed an experiment. Skinner submitted his plan to the U.S. Secretary of the Navy and was allowed to sail his first weather patrol with a fully integrated crew.[9] Within a few months, fifty black sailors, including two officers, were stationed aboard Sea Cloud.[2] Skinner requested that the experiment not be publicized and the ship not be treated differently from other ships in the task force. Skinner showed that his integrated crew could work just as efficiently as a segregated crew, if not more so, when his crew passed two fleet inspections with no deficiencies.[2]

Under Skinner's command when the ship was integrated, American painter Jacob Lawrence served on the Sea Cloud.[10] He was able to paint and sketch while in the Coast Guard,[11] notably his War Series.[12]

Return to civilian service[edit]

Following her return, Sea Cloud received a reassembled rigging in 1947, and a new set of twenty-nine sails in 1949.[13] The vessel was painted white, and a gold eagle painted on the bow. The ship's reconstruction took nearly four years. Post retained ownership of Sea Cloud in the aftermath of her divorce from Mr. Davies, since she had originally brought the ship into the marriage. After evaluating the cost of running a year-round crew of seventy-two, Post decided to sell the ship.[6]

In the beginning Sea Cloud featured royal-sails over single topgallant- and double top-sails on the fore and mizzen masts. The main mast was equipped with a royal-sail over double topgallant- and double top-sails. Today the first three masts are rigged with double top-sails, single topgallants, royals and a main skysail.

Presidential yacht Angelita[edit]

Rafael Trujillo, ruler of the Dominican Republic, purchased Sea Cloud in 1955, trading a secondhand Vickers Viscount airliner in return.[13] He renamed the ship Angelita after his daughter Angelita Trujillo. The yacht served as a houseboat and government office. Following Trujillo's assassination on May 30, 1961, his family attempted to smuggle themselves and Trujillo's body to the Canary Islands aboard Angelita, but were forced back by the Dominican Republic's new government.[6]

School ship Patria[edit]

Five years after Trujillo's death, the ship, now named Patria, was sold to Operation Sea Cruises, Inc. in 1966. Company president John Blue registered her in Panama and sent her to Naples, Italy, to recondition and outfit her for charters. Sold to Antarna Inc., Miami, in 1969 the ship was renamed Antarna. Blue brought the vessel to the United States, but port authorities docked the boat after a dispute in Colón, Panama. Charles and Stephanie Gallagher paid the fees to get the ship free and set her to sea, even though Blue still held the ship's papers. The two dreamed of making the ship an "oceanic school" where students would supplement their traditional learning with at-sea education. Blue eventually retrieved his ship after a confrontation in Panama.[6]

Cruise ship Sea Cloud[edit]

After the ship stayed in port for eight years, Hartmut Paschburg and a group of Hamburg associates purchased her, once again naming her Sea Cloud. Paschburg and thirty-eight other men sailed the ship to Europe, arriving in the Port of Hamburg on November 15, 1978. Sea Cloud spent eight months undergoing repairs in the now-named Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft shipyard, the very yard she was built in. She was redesigned with a sixty-four passenger capacity for a crew of sixty.[7] The ship set sail on her first cruise in 1979,[6] and has since been described by the Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships as "the most romantic sailing ship afloat".[14] In 2011, the Sea Cloud underwent extensive renovations at the MWB-Werft, Bremerhaven.[15] She is still operating as a cruise ship.[6]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fagan, Kevin (29 August 2004). "Carlton Skinner – broke racial barriers in Navy". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 14 September 2004. Retrieved 5 May 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n "USS Sea Cloud, 1942: WPG-284; IX-99; ex-Hussar". United States Coast Guard. 20 August 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  3. ^ "Sea Cloud - IMO 8843446 Sea Cloud, bt. 1931, gt. 2531". Retrieved 13 December 2014.
  4. ^ Grobecker, Kurt (1998). Sea Cloud: A Living Legend. Edition Die Barque. ISBN 3884122541.
  5. ^ a b Perrin, Noel; Perrin, Special to The Washington Post Noel; Dartmouth, Special to The Washington Post; Noel Perrin teaches American literature at (1983-09-11). "CRUISE '83". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2020-05-03.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "A Windjammer Writes History". Sea Cloud Cruises. 2007. Archived from the original on 18 April 2009. Retrieved 11 May 2009.
  7. ^ a b c Figueiral, J. Ortega. "Alcúdia recibe al ´Sea Cloud´, yate que perteneció a Trujillo" (in Spanish). Diario de Mallorca. Retrieved 11 May 2009.
  8. ^ Scull, Theodore (2006). 100 Best Cruise Vacations 4. Globe Pequot. pp. 112–115. ISBN 0-762738626.
  9. ^ Skinner, Carlton (13 November 2008). "USS Sea Cloud, IX 99, Racial Integration for Naval Efficiency". United States Coast Guard. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  10. ^ "Jacob Lawrence, USCG biography". Archived from the original on 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2013-02-19.
  11. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-04. Retrieved 2013-02-19.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  12. ^ "American Legends:From Calder to O'Keefe: Audio Guide Stop for Jacob Lawrence, War Series: Beachhead, 1947". Whitney Museum of Art. Retrieved December 14, 2014.
  13. ^ a b Buckley, William F. Jr. (2004). Miles Gone By: A Literary Autobiography. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing. p. 482. ISBN 0-89526-089-1.
  14. ^ Ward, Douglas (2009). "Sailing Ships". Berlitz Complete Guide to Cruising & Cruise Ships. Berlitz Corporation. Archived from the original on 1 November 2009. Retrieved 10 May 2009.
  15. ^ Blinda, Antje (March 24, 2011). "Kreuzfahrt-Segler "Sea Cloud". Lady lässt sich liften" (in German). Der Spiegel.

External links[edit]